Well, in Part 1, I explored the overall dating situation (at least via OKCupid) of dating in the pandemic era. Here’s a look at my personal results.
Admittedly, I did not go about this well.
My first attempt
One of the first guys I talked to was cute, had a brain and there seemed to be chemistry. He even lived very close (a five-minute walk away), so it would’ve been super convenient.
He works as a physical therapist. This means that he wears a mask and gown to work with clients — who also wear masks. Most importantly, as a health care worker, his workplace tests him for COVID once a week.
For that reason, I agreed to meet too quickly. Also, I was lonely which probably made me impulsive.
Unfortunately, we didn’t click in person. He must’ve thought so too, because he just didn’t respond to a text I sent him afterward. I was going to give it one more shot, since first encounters can be awkward. But… nope.
He at least had the decency to confirm that he was negative after getting his next test.
Post-script: No offense to the men out there, but your cohorts are incredibly idiotic about dating. This guy texted me two weeks later “Hey.” Out of morbid curiosity, I texted back. He asked what I was up to. I said I was just watching TV, what about him?
He then sent a mirror selfie of him in underwear flexing. And asked for a sexy pic back. Uh huh.
The rest of the conversation was:
“You ghosted, and you think you deserve a pic?”
“No, you’re not sorry. You’re horny. There’s a difference.”
And that was the end of that.
My second attempt
I was determined to be more thorough this time around. I talked to four guys seriously, though one stopped responding after I mentioned that I have a small belly.
I get it, but it kinda sucked because he was a masseuse (currently doing at-home administrative work). That would’ve been nice. But he seemed a little reluctant when I mentioned video chatting, so probably for the best.
I was left with:
A 55 year old (try not to faint, he looked 40) whose politics matched up very well with mine, conversation flowed easily, he mainly worked from home and he even asked to read my blog and we had a discussion about one of my posts.
Problem: He has three teens (17 and two 19 year olds) living at home. Even with everyone being careful and running minimal errands, that’s… a lot of potential exposure. He also wasn’t going to be as available as I would’ve liked. And on a more shallow note, he wasn’t as toned as I generally like guys to be.
A 38 year old (I know — all these age appropriate guys!) who worked from home, lived alone, was more readily available and was definitely physically more my type. But he lived 30ish miles away (though he swore he didn’t mind the drive) and conversation wasn’t quite as naturally flowing.
There was a third guy too, but for the life of me I can’t remember for reasons that will soon become apparent.
I spent a day or so going back and forth, until my brain felt fuzzy and I was… not on the verge of crying but not not there either. I finally placed it: I had decision fatigue. Like when you spend too long researching and comparing products and prices until you can’t take in any more information, and you’re no longer sure you even want the damn thing.
I had been leaning toward the 38 year old, so of course he just randomly stopped answering texts.
And apparently, my decision fatigue brain decided that, rather than make a choice, I should add more variables. So I went on the app and swiped more. I think it was just anxious energy.
Second attempt part 2
And so four more candidates entered the field. Sigh.
I had a 34 year old who lived 30ish miles away. Lived alone, great body and seemed to be being careful (he certainly complained about boredom and celibacy enough to be convincing). But it was slightly annoying that he didn’t have a head-on pic with his glasses on and wasn’t taking the hint that I’d like to see one.
And in case you think I was simply being too opaque, my “hint” was asking for one directly and, when he said he didn’t have one, saying “Gee, it’s a shame you don’t have the ability to take anymore pictures [laughing face emoji].”
He said he was in bed, so not in glasses. And never followed up. Guys, if a woman who might sleep with you wants a picture you don’t have, you take a new picture!
Anyway, conversation was okay but not great, but he was very available throughout the week and willing to drive to me most of the time. (I don’t like driving very far).
Then there was a 36 year old in Phoenix who also claimed to be being careful, but I didn’t feel totally reassured for some reason. Super hot though. And conversation was once again decent, but not as good as with the 55 year old.
Also, there was a 37 year old who worked from who worked from home and, while he didn’t socially distance from family when he visited, they all also worked from home too. Widely available and lived not too far away. Pretty good conversation, but again not as toned as would’ve been ideal. He also admitted to not taking the idea of personally getting the virus all that seriously and had even had a sit-down, indoor meal at a restaurant a few weeks prior. Ummmm… worrying.
And then there was another 37 year old who worked outside the house, but said he barely interacted with anyone all day (warehouse) and his work was being careful: masks, temperature checks, etc. He lived with his dad who had lung disease, so he was very concerned with getting COVID. Good conversation, but he often worked a lot of overtime.
I talked to these guys for a day or so, then — naturally — added a fifth. Because why make things remotely easy?
But I struck gold: A 31 year old who lived in Phoenix and was very available. He was taking the virus super seriously, and we traded complaints about how many people weren’t. He had all of his groceries delivered and even wore a mask walking the dog, which was basically the only time he went out. He even volunteered this information, which no other guys had done.
We chatted a bunch throughout the day and ended with a great video chat. Conversation was seamless, and overall it was just ideal. We texted for a good chunk of the following day too.
So once again, I agreed to meet too quickly. As I was getting ready, he texted to see if we could postpone til the next day. He struggles with some social anxiety and said he wanted to plan a bit to make sure the anxiety didn’t rear up.
I was disappointed but agreed, and we texted a little more. Then he called and we chatted for about 10 minutes. At that point, he announced he’d changed his mind. I asked if he was sure. He said yes and that he’d text me as soon as he was out of the shower.
Forty five minutes later, I texted “Are you okay?” Twenty minutes after that, I tried calling and, when he didn’t pick up, texted “Second thoughts?” An hour later, I texted that I guessed he’d lost interest, something had come up or anxiety had reared up. That if it was the last one, I hoped he felt better and to reach out when he felt up to it.
As is probably obvious, I never heard back.
I was hurt and disheartened by the second guy’s ghosting. I really liked him. More than I should’ve with that limited of interaction.
I was glum that night and most of the following day. I chatted with the other guys some more, but I realized that I just didn’t feel safe meeting them for some reason. Probably, it was just in comparison to the last guy, who was being so uber-safe. But I decided I was only going to choose someone I felt definitively safe with/confident in, which meant I had to keep looking.
I wrote an apologetic note to the remaining guys. I didn’t want to say “I just don’t trust you/feel safe, so I’m moving on.” Seemed mean and/or would just get into guys trying to convince me it was fine.
Instead, I just said that I was concerned because cases and deaths kept rising. That I had thought I could relax into it, but I was only getting more worried. (Which was true.) And that I didn’t want to waste any more of their time than I already had. I added that if I calmed down, I’d reach back out to see if they were still available.
Same wording to all of them.
Two said okay and left it at that.
One said that it sounded like I was watching the news too much and I shouldn’t watch it so much that it gave me nightmares. He told me to buy a thermometer and he was down for a test whenever. So… definitely the right call there.
One (with the dad with lung issues) said it did sound like I’d worked myself up too much, but he got it. He said that he had zero expectations on dating sites, so if I wanted to keep talking, he was cool. If not, he totally understood. So we’ve chatted a little more as friends.
Then there was the 55 year old.
The last conversation he and I had, he’d talked a bit about sometimes smoking weed. I’d said it wasn’t really my thing and wasn’t great for the lungs, but that otherwise I considered it harmless.
While I didn’t point it out, one of the questions I answered for my profile was that yes, pot should be legalized. In another question (“Could you date someone who uses drugs?”) I’d chosen “Yes, but only soft stuff like marijuana.” So… I wasn’t shy about being fine with other people smoking.
I mention all this because this is the conversation that ensued when I sent him the message about being too concerned/afraid to meet.
I do so love having my motivations/emotions mansplained to me. Even better — by which I mean worse — he wrote back later and would not let it go. Utterly failing to see the irony that he, in fact, was the one being dramatic by extending the conversation.
The second bout of text exchanges is long enough that I just put it as a post-script for this piece. So scroll down if you want to a grown man just plain spiral out.
Also… Does he think that concerns go away after a couple of days or after blogging about them? Because saying I was already concerned actually sorta proves my point, no? And as for his bitching at the end about wasted time, my initial note specifically acknowledged that in an apologetic way (“I don’t want to waste any more of your time than I already have.”)
Also, as for drama, we discussed:
- What we liked to do pre-pandemic
- What was going on with his 19 year olds’ college plans
- How we were keeping safe
- General “I’m bored” crap
- Some NSFW (because in addition to everything else, you now have to do your best to figure out physical compatibility prior to meeting)
So yeah, pretty sure the “drama” thing was just a rationalization/jab. Or he read our conversations very differently.
Anyway, huge dickish bullet dodged.
The thing is, he was my top contender out of those candidates. So that was three poor choices in very short order. So clearly my radar is far more broken than previously suspected.
So now I’m being extra cautious. As I vet guys, I have to keep in mind that apparently I can barely trust my own instincts. So that’ll be fun to figure out. (“He seems fine. But wait, is he fine or is my radar off again?”)
And I’ll be watching for trepidation at the thought of meeting. If there’s more than a hint of it, it’s probably not a good fit.
Last Saturday, I did talk to two guys who didn’t suggest meeting right away. After a day and a half of very steady messaging, one asked on the following day. Not ideal, but far better than what I’d been getting. The second guy asked after about two and a half days of relatively steady messaging.
I won’t be meeting them until we’ve messaged for at least a week and, preferably, done some video chatting.
All in all
At this point, who knows if anything will work out? I’m well aware that it’s a ridiculous thing, even attempting to date in a pandemic. But as I said in a reply to a comment on the last COVID dating post, I truly think that once this current spike dies down and places reopen, things will yet again almost go back to normal. That is, I think people still won’t have learned their lessons and will flock back to bars and gyms and such, causing another spike.
Even if I wait until the current spike dies down (6-8 weeks?), assuming another month for infections to start getting back out of control again and then at least another couple of months for a second spike to occur… That’s probably five to six more months of this.
It’s already been four months. So if I wait it out, that’s a total of about nine months of solitude. I’m still trying to figure out if that’s doable. I haven’t ruled it out, but obviously (since I’m on the site) I’m leaning toward no.
Normally I have a question here. But this time… Just uuuuuuggggghhhhh. Anyone know a good, safe, cute guy in Phoenix?
PS. Now behold a 55-year-old man who cannot let go.
(Incidentally, the ex he’s claiming late in the conversation that I “vilified”… I said that the guy did smoke copiously due to medical issues, but that other than the cost, weed wasn’t my problem with him. Literally all I said.)
First of all, I love how the man who extends an argument beyond all reason and who hyperbolically calls me a weed hater keeps referring to me as being dramatic.
Second, why do I have to talk about people who drink too much? How is that any part of this conversation?
Third, even if “weed haters” *eye roll* do say all the same things I did — that weed should be legal, that it’s basically harmless, that it’s no worse than alcohol — that’s also exactly what weed lovers say. So how on earth does my saying these things prove I’m a weed-hater?
Unless, of course, you’re a man who thinks that investing any decent amount of time in a woman from a dating website entitles you to something and when she fails to “live up” to her end of the bargain you, oh I dunno, become slightly unhinged.